Kerala

VS puts VACB in the dock

Questions its claim of no proof to prosecute K.M. Mani

Administrative Reforms Commission chairperson V.S. Achuthanandan on Monday put the Vigilance and Anti-Corruption Bureau (VACB) in the dock for its claim that there was no evidence to prosecute former Finance Minister K.M. Mani in the bar bribery case.

His counsel K. Gopalakrishna Kurup told the Inquiry Commissioner and Special Judge that the “factual report” filed by the first investigating officer in the case, S. Sukeshan, still carried legal weight. It could not be wished away.

In a span of two months, Mr. Sukeshan had filed two investigative reports in 2015. In the first report, he had submitted enough evidence to justify a criminal investigation against Mr. Mani.

In the second report, Mr. Sukeshan recanted, and Mr. Achuthanandan had then deposed that the retraction was indicative of the immense extraneous pressure on the officer. Subsequently, the agency had authored a damning report criticising its own officer’s finding. A later report by the VACB questioned Mr. Sukeshan’s wisdom and imputed that he struck a conspiracy with the complainants in the case.

Mr. Kurup told the court that the VACB appeared to play the role of a defence lawyer hell-bent on picking holes in Mr. Sukeshan’s first investigative report.

It was not for the VACB’s current investigating officer to dismiss the case on the flimsy ground that two persons had opined that audio evidence in the case appeared to have been tampered.

It was a matter for the court to decide.

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Printable version | Apr 6, 2020 2:18:04 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/kerala/vs-puts-vacb-in-the-dock/article24498493.ece

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